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A 57-year-old skier and snowboarder, who has completed an astonishing 46,008 ski runs but has never been on a piste outside of Manchester, is about to experience the thrill of the great outdoors for the first time.

silver surfer dave knowles on his home piste in manchester
‘Downhill Dave’ – real name Dave Knowles - has, until now, never been on a mountain despite being a seasoned skier for three and a half years.

Dave skis every day and has skied a massive 5,146 miles – the equivalent of flying from London to California. But it’s all been done under one roof – at Manchester-based Chill Factore, the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope.

Now, however, his dedication to the downhill has been rewarded after tour operator Alpine Elements saw his story and offered Dave an all-expenses-paid week-long holiday in French ski resort Morzine.

Downhill Dave is a taxi marshall at the nearby Trafford Centre but spends most of his time on the piste at Chill Factore – visiting every day, except every other Sunday.

He was given his nickname by his ski instructor Jeff after he took a tumble over a snowboarder. And it has stuck ever since. And he’s understandably ‘stoked’ about the prospect of finally skiing down a real mountain.

Preparing for his trip, Dave says, ‘I caught the bug after a skiing lesson at Chill Factore three and a half years ago and I’ve never looked back. I’ve never skied anywhere except here and I can’t quite believe how lucky I am that Alpine Elements have offered me a free trip to the French Alps.

‘I can’t wait to go and put all those hours of practice to good use on a real mountain.’

Morwenna Angove, Chill Factore chief executive, said: ‘Dave has become a very accomplished skier since he’s been coming here and is a bit of a legend among staff.

‘We are delighted for him that this offer has been made and he can finally see what skiing down a real mountain is like. But he’s assured us he’ll be back on our slope as soon as he returns.’